Beware, trademark owners: .xxx domains ahead

September 8th, 2011 by Kyle Rambeau

Imagine owning the restaurant chain ‘Pink Taco,’ with a website domain name of www.pinktaco.com. Customers obviously would understand this site belongs to your franchise. In the next month, though, the release of the .xxx domain, available to adult entertainment companies, could create considerable confusion — and consternation for those already holding .coms. Fortunately, starting this week, trademark owners have options and time to protect their brand from potential negative associations with .xxx domain names.In March, the Board of Directors of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved .xxx domain names for “adult entertainment” websites.  Thankfully, ICM Registry LLC, the operator of the .XXX domain, is providing a Sunrise registration period, known as ‘Sunrise B’,  that allows trademark owners who are not in the adult entertainment industry to block domain names correlating to their trademarks.  This period began Sept. 7 and will run for 50 days, until Oct. 28. After this period, a “land rush” period will begin Nov. 8, during which companies will have access to remaining .xxx domain names for 17 days before these then will fall into general availability.

The price for individuals and companies to protect their brand will be roughly $150-$300 per domain name in the sunrise period.

Unfortunately, squatters still may get an upper-hand because trademark owners are restricted to blocking only those .xxx domains that exactly match their eligible, registered trademarks; they can’t block common misspellings or similar terms that are confusing and similar. To the the average netizen, prone to misspellings, this could create unpleasant surprises. ICM already has announced it automatically will protect more than 4,000 celebrities‘ names from potential squatters. This decision is mainly because it is difficult for individuals to trademark their own names; the ICM move will protect celebrities from the possibility of some serious reputation damage.

For companies and individuals who wish to take prophylactic measures to protect their brand, click here to register your domain…

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